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Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Middle Chiwaukum

A true back country scramble, which the pacific northwest can offer. With a total of 10 minutes on the trail, 4 hours of walking through tree falls, bushwhacking, snow under trees, opening up to a snow field, rock scramble and a mellow knife ridge finish at the end. Overall beautiful views and great trip.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The road is completely clear of snow all the way up to the White Pine Trail head. High clearance vehicles advised.  This trip is best advised for experienced scramblers/ climbers who are in good physical condition, as the distance and elevation can be misleading - as almost all of it is off trail and requires a lot of focus and navigation skills.

     

Overall recommendations for scramblers and leaders doing this trip : Best done with a group of strong scramblers in great physical conditioning. As this is not a 80%-20% on trail vs scramble. Its 100% scramble on steep off trail terrain. 

The route breaks at 0.5 miles from the trail head to the left after you cross the first stream crossing (a small one). From there its all about walking through fallen trees, bushes, and some mossy sections - till you find the ridge. 

Watch out for post holing - at this time of the year, as the snow is melting fast under the trees.

Once at the ridge - the route becomes more clear - as you just keep following the ridge to the climbers left till you hit snow at around 5,800 ft. Continue on the ridge till you get to spots where the tree cover sparses out. 

Here - you'll see beautiful views of Middle, North Chiwaukum, Arrow head mountain and others in the area. 

Continue on the ridge - at these sections - the snow gets softer owing to the warm weather. Follow the rock section and avoid the cornices to head to the first summit. Where you'd have gained all the elevation needed. 

We took 5-10 minutes at the summit. 2 members of the party decided to stop here - while the rest of us continued to our ultimate destination and took a longer 30 minutes break. It took us 5.5 hours including all the breaks

The ridge gain to Middle Chiwaukum - runs a knife ridge. We grouped together - to make sure everyone was comfortable - as the steps from the group a day earlier were a little icy. We decided not to put crampons - as the snow was soft enough.

After carefully avoiding this section - we had some rock scramble at the end and then on to the summit

 

 

On the way down - we had to use snowshoes to avoid further postholing. As always on a scramble - off trail navigation was a great excercise which everyone in the group participated on 

Overall round trip of 9 hours and 10 minutes. We stopped on the way back  for some food to be greeted with this sign 

 

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